Week 1 instant reactions: Browns run Bengals out of town with huge win

• Deshaun Watson scored with his arm and legs

• Dustin Hopkins is Mr. Automatic

• Jim Schwartz had the Browns D fired up

Cincinnati Bengals v Cleveland Browns
Cincinnati Bengals v Cleveland Browns / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages

The Cleveland Browns are sitting atop the AFC North after one week thanks to a huge win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

When the NFL released its schedule this offseason, this felt like a tough matchup for the Browns, but they took it as an opportunity. Cincinnati came in as the two-time AFC North champs, but Cleveland sent them home with an 0-1 record.

Both teams started out slow, mostly due to the rainy weather, but the Bengals never seemed to get out of first gear.

53. Final. 3. 56. Bengals. 24

Cleveland, however, shook off an early fumble from Jerome Ford as well as a pick from Watson to take control in the fourth quarter.

Watson, who had a touchdown run earlier in the game, threw a touchdown to Harrison Bryant and capped it off with a two-point conversion to extend the lead to 24-3. He finished his day with 154 yards passing on 16-of-29 attempts with a touchdown. He added 45 yards on five carries while Nick Chubb went for 106 yards on 18 attempts.

Browns defense can be special

General manager Andrew Berry knew the Browns defense needed some work this offseason. That's why they brought in Dalvin Tomlinson, Rodney McLeod, and Ogbo Okoronkwo — among others. They also replaced Joe Woods with Jim Schwartz, who made his debut as the Cleveland defensive coordinator on Sunday.

The early results were beyond encouraging. Not only did they slow down the Cincinnati running game, but they held Joe Burrow to just 82 yards on 14-of-31 passing. They recorded just two sacks on Burrow (one by Okoronkwo and one by Myles Garrett) but were pressuring him all game.

Making matters worse for the Bengals, there was no room to throw as the defensive backs thrived in man pressure.

Dustin Hopkins was the missing piece

As exciting as this game was, it was the routine that really stood out. Dustin Hopkins, who was added just before Week 1, hit all three field goal tries and his only extra point attempt.

With the inconsistencies we saw from Cade York in 2022, this was a welcome sight. It also eliminates one of the lone concerns with this Cleveland offense.

Up next for the Browns

With this game in the books, the Browns are now heading to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers on Monday Night Football. Pittsburgh is 0-1 after a blowout loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

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